By Elizabeth Perry
A Coraopolis family experienced dangerous levels of carbon monoxide in their home, leading the volunteer fire chief to warn residents to be wary when turning on gas heaters and furnaces for the winter.
Coraopolis Volunteer Fire Chief Charles Spencer said the department responded to five carbon monoxide detectors in September, and one family who lives on State Avenue had to be temporarily evacuated.
“We’re getting a lot of calls with these old furnaces,” Spencer said. “[Carbon monoxide] is the silent killer.”
Spencer said Columbia Gas was called onto the scene at the State Avenue residence because of the high detection level on the meters. The furnace was shut down and repaired, Spencer said, but luckily no one was injured.
“Nobody was sick,” Spencer said.
Spencer said having up-to-date carbon monoxide detectors with fresh batteries is important. The detectors are available at most hardware and department stores.
According to Peoples Gas, carbon monoxide is “produced when fuel is burned without enough air for complete combustion.” They warn that the flame in gas appliances should be blue, possibly with flecks of orange and warn if the flame is mostly yellow, the gas is not burning properly and is giving off carbon monoxide.
The cold worsens the problem of carbon monoxide poisoning because people keep their homes closed up, which can lead to gas concentration.